Phonemic atomism

SOCRATES: Is a proposition resolvable into any part smaller than a name?HERMOGENES: No; that is the smallest.  (Cratylus, Plato) In language there are levels of units. These are sentence, clause, phrase, word and phoneme. Here Socrates narrows down the meaningful unit to the word or name. A phoneme in itself has no meaning as such.…More

Linguistic determinism and relativity

In philosophy determinism is a theory of causation where what precedes a situation determines the outcome. While this is a secular theory is related to its religious cousin, predestination. Linguistic determinism is the theory that a language determines the way you think of the world. There is a weak version termed linguistic relativity where it…More

Grammar or experience?

What is wrong with the idea of “universal” in the Universal Grammar of Chomsky? It is that what is taken as being universal is wrong. It is not the grammar in the brain that is universal, but rather it is the human experience that is universal. We all have the same set of senses and…More